NASHVILLE (BP) – While the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting is now part of our history, let’s not forget a few of the great highlights. We each will remember some things personally and we will discover others as we dialogue with friends. I want to share a few special highlights I believe are worthy of mention.
- Seventy days before the SBC Annual Meeting began, we were not even certain we could have the gathering in Nashville. At that time, our CFO and convention manager, Jeff Pearson, gathered the respective Nashville parties in a virtual meeting, and God began to make the way possible. We were already in dialogue with other cities if all parties could not come together in Nashville to host us.
Then, God intervened miraculously. From 70 days prior to the beginning of the SBC annual meeting, all matters were readjusted, renegotiated, replanned and completely redirected to downtown Nashville from our previous venue. The Music City Center may be one of the greatest convention centers I can remember. The Lord worked a true miracle. Thank God for the incredible staff team and volunteers He used to make this occur.
- The response to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting was stunning. While still in a global pandemic which seems to be slowing across the nation, Southern Baptists came to Nashville in great numbers. This convention was the second-largest convention since the 1995 SBC Annual Meeting in Atlanta, which had a final messenger count of 20,654. Our 2021 meeting had a final messenger count of 15,726.
While the 1995 messenger count surpassed this year’s convention by 4,928, we still had a terrific response to this year’s convention. The combined attendance of messengers, guests, and exhibitors was:
- 15,726 Messengers
- 3,823 Guests
- 1,892 Exhibitors
- 21,441 Total Attendance
There are many keys to growing attendance. One of the most important is this: the more churches represented, the greater the attendance. In 2019 in Birmingham, we had 3,428 churches sending 8,183 messengers. This year, we had 5,570 churches sending 15,726 messengers.
This is an amazing encouragement for everyone. Thank you for coming. Begin planning now to join us for our 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., June 14-15, 2022.
- God has raised up Dr. Ed Litton as our newly elected SBC President. While we are grateful for each of the men who permitted their names to be placed into nomination for this position, the Lord has chosen to raise up Dr. Litton for this moment in our history.
Please begin praying now for Dr. Ed Litton and his wife Kathy. Encourage them when you see them, and always be faithful to pray for them. This is a significant moment in our history and Southern Baptists need to find a way to go forward together.
- From the SEND Conference highlights to the IMB’s Missionary Sending Celebration to significant reports from our entities and decisions made by Southern Baptist messengers that will prayerfully move us to being a greater people of God, we need to come away from this year’s convention knowing the Lord has been good to His people and has given us favor and blessing to be together.
As always in Baptist life, some of the moments were challenging, others were inspirational, and every now and then, humorous moments helped us all.
We are a big family from all over the United States and beyond. We share a common general belief around the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and a common conviction and cooperation to advance the Gospel to the entire world. This is our vision!
- Reaching every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation is what Vision 2025 is all about. Our Convention endorsed and even amended this vision to carry us forward all the way through the year 2025. These strategic actions are modified for easier communication.
Our churches can come together around:
- Sending 500 more missionaries overseas
- Adding 5,000 more congregations across North America
- Calling out the called
- Reversing the decline baptisms among those younger than 18
- Increasing giving through the Cooperative Program
- Prayerfully endeavoring to eliminate all incidents of sexual abuse and racial discrimination among our churches.
This is who we are and this is what we are about. Please forward this to your church and let’s do this together.
More than 6,000 people have joined our VISION 2025 PRAYER TEAM. We need you to join us. It is simple and helpful. We will be praying for each of these initiatives as well as establishing a community where prayer is encouraged. Please encourage the members of your church, association, state convention or national entity to do the same by joining this prayer team.
Here is what you need to do: TEXT the word “VISION” to 90885.
Immediately, you will become a part of this Prayer Team.
I hope you will do it today. Share it with others. Anyone can join. It will encourage and inspire you.
We are praying for you. Please pray for us.
Now is the time to lead.